Friday, May 2, 2014

Artists Who Have Mastered The R&B And Popular Charts

One thing record companies and radio stations look for is "mass appeal" hits--those that appeal to a good cross-section of people.  Segmented songs are great, but they appeal to a much smaller audience, and thus don't bring in the audience or the album sales that the across-the-board songs do.

These are the artists who have crossed over to huge success, from the R&B charts to the Popular charts.  They have scored 10 ore more Top 10 R&B hits and 10 or more Popular hits. 

By the way, "featured artists" which have become the "in" thing recently in music, are great and very communal, but a "featured artist" isn't the main artist of a song, so only the main artist gets credit for a Top 10 song.  There are thousands of musicians who have played on or sung on big hits, but they cannot be considered as top artists because they weren't the ones with the record contract for which their success is gauged.  While these days it is necessary for several performers to combine in order to have a hit song, one performer used to be good enough on their own merit to have that hit.

There are a few surprises--Rihanna certainly has enough Top 10 hits to make the list, but she doesn't have 10 Top 10 R&B hits.  The Pointer Sisters are another act in this category--great success overall, but less than 10 Top 10 R&B songs.  Earth, Wind & Fire are a disappointment to not make it--they easily have 10 Top R&B hits, but only seven overall Top 10 hits.  I thought they were a certainty, but then when you realize that great songs like "That's The Way Of The World", "Getaway" and "Fantasy" did not make the Top 10 (Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*), you see that radio blew it with this group.

James Brown is one of the legends of R&B music, but only seven Top 10 hits with the broader audience.  JB had 99 single releases, but only seven Top 10, one of the worst batting averages of the Rock Era. 

On the other hand, these artists mastered both charts--they put out great R&B music that were mass appeal songs:

Chris Brown
Mariah Carey
Ray Charles

Destiny's Child
Fats Domino
Aretha Franklin
Marvin Gaye
Whitney Houston
Jackson 5
Janet Jackson
Michael Jackson
R. Kelly
Kool and the Gang
Elvis Presley
Lionel Richie
Diana Ross
Donna Summer
Dionne Warwick
Stevie Wonder

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